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adesh saxena

Consultant ENT Surgeon, Indian Medical Association


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Indian democracy: success or failure? Failure in concept or in application? Alternatives?

poor people in my country have no voice, no rights........our democratic country is run by few powerful and corrupt elected politicians......a worst joke is being played here in the name of democracy.
It is not the failure of democracy as a philosophy but its application.

In today's world there appears to be no better system than democracy . But we need a system which canot be exploited by a few .powerful and corrupt people. A system which has inbuilt strength and character which can withstand manipulation by few.

progress indicator
  • Jun 24 2013: I have stated this before, and I think it bears repeating.

    Developing a successful constitution for a country of many millions is a nearly impossible task.

    We need to experiment very widely, on a more moderate scale. We need many experiments with many different constitutions, roughly on the scale of a city. It must be small enough so that changing the constitution does not take an enormous effort and budget. Then we let people vote with their feet (or plane tickets). Eventually one of these experiments will become very popular and start growing. It will have safeguards to assure that the principle of one vote for each citizen is realized in fact as well as in principle. It will also have institutional incentives that effectively eliminate corruption. Equality before the law, and all human rights, will be ensured for everyone, regardless of the circumstances of their birth or their pocketbook. It will not be paradise, but it will be better than the plutocracies that are now dominating the globe, and it will encourage further experiments.

    Experiments in democracy should be encouraged everywhere.
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      Jun 26 2013: Hi Barry, I Agree

      Experiments in democracy should be encouraged everywhere.

      Democracy need to evolve according to needs of various nations.

      It should have inbuilt safe guard against exploitation of masses by a few.

      Now it is ....For the few, of the few.
  • Jun 24 2013: It seems to me, Adesh, that democracy is a deceptive, unruly creature, wherever it is in the world...

    I agree, the system needs to become foolproof. In my opinion, it lacks integrity, and as long as so much fear exists in people, it will continue to.
    Those with power (i.e. money) can buy themselves into any position, it seems. As long as money rules as the ultimate reflection of power, democracy will remain shaky.
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      Jun 26 2013: Those with power (i.e. money) can buy themselves into any position, it seems. As long as money rules as the ultimate reflection of power, democracy will remain shaky.

      That seems to be the fundamental problem, people with money or muscle power or both occupy our parliament.
      Those who are elected and are not powerful become corrupt and powerful in due course of time.

      Any solution ? Democracy needs to nurtured, Alas, it does not happen here.
      • Jun 27 2013: When I read your comment, and then your question, "Any solution?", the very fist thing that popped into my mind was nurturing parents. Perhaps a good democracy needs to work like a stable family unit, with leaders as tight as a respectful parental unit, representing two complementing perspectives, instead of two opposing and constantly in struggle with each other.
        I don't necessarily mean per say a female and a male leader partnership, but I do wonder if more females in leadership roles may alter the system...
        What do you think?
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      Jun 27 2013: Can we avoid powerful people being elected in a demacracy ?

      Through their wives they rule but its a good proposition to have more females.

      I may be wrong but i feel women tend to be less corrupt,and in their decision making the heart rules. Men are easily corruptible and here the brain rules.

      Lizanne what do you think?
      • Jun 27 2013: I am sure there are women who are susceptible to power, like any human. You're right, it's about the power belonging to corporations and businesses and powerful individuals, instead of to the people,where it belongs...

        I think most women have a natural ability to nurture, but not all. Women who are strong in business and powerful leaders are probably less likely to be the mothering types, and vice versa... I really don't know. Did find an article on gender and corruption, which sheds some ight n the subject:
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    Jun 23 2013: I shall thank Aadesh for asking a very good question. Good and timely.
    I think the idea of true democracy is realized within an educated/informed society. From that standpoint India's emergence with a democratic dream was magnificent; even current statistics of literacy in India does not look conducive for any effective democracy to function. The forefathers of Indian nation dreamed big. Neither Aadesh nor Pabitra are true face of Indian society which is still two thirds rural.
    Next, by democracy's own definition it should progress towards lesser of intervening governance. The government of a perfect democracy almost does nothing. But in India we still demand 'strong' governments, which is a sad admission of our lacking self governing abilities. I think Aadesh will agree that in India people love to place entire responsibility on the government, including that of corruption without appreciating that this corruption comes from within.
    I'd agree with George that given the initial conditions, the huge population, a pluralist and multi -lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-religious Nation India did reasonably well to keep the country united and prosper, albeit slowly holding on to democratic principles.
    It is certainly not a failure. Sometimes it becomes difficult for us living within India to appreciate the true value of our argumentative, dis-organized and chaotic ways - but I see a remarkable ingenuity in that. :) Perhaps Indian way of democracy is an alternative in itself. I mean start imagining an electoral process of 500 million voters!
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      Jun 27 2013: I agree with you Pabitra , its not total failure but the system need to safe guard it self from manipulation, change is needed.
  • Jul 21 2013: I think its both the failure in concept and the application. In my opinion just like setting up a happy household requires maturity and selfless dedication to each other a true democracy requires maturity in thinking of inclusion and support for growth from all quarters of the society. A higher transparency of basic administration, value for entrepreneurship and putting checks and balances for power would be a good way to move forward. I think we all understand these things but are unable to implement them in the society. Starting small from the grass-roots and moving beyond could help. This will require a lot of individual strength with support from society and the community. Just theory, but someone has to start somewhere and keep correcting the approach to reach the goal :)
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    Jul 1 2013: Indian democracy Vs US democracy ?
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      Jun 28 2013: LaMar Hi

      Its not that simple out here.

      We protest, some times media takes up our cause but things do not change pretty much here.

      Protesters are hounded ,punished and victimised..
      Whistle blowers are killed.
      Police and judiciary can be bought..
      People vote for their caste and creed,
      Media is for making money, onlyTRP matters
      Politicians can buy their votes by money and favours

      ...majority remains sllent.

      How do you think spirirt of Democracy will survive here? Who will safe guard it.?
      Individuals have voting rights after that their voices fall on deaf ears.
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          Jun 28 2013: Need no less than revolution.

          Lead no less than Gandhi
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          Jun 29 2013: What prevents us from standing against the oppressor ....FEAR. I am trying to overcome it before i can take a plunge..

          Fear to loose...

          When one is fearless, oppressor has no purcahse on you, you are their toughest opponent.

          They have the power to destroy you , you have the power to show them and the world and make them understand that they are wrong and unjust.
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          Jun 29 2013: People are paying with their lives but may be there are not enough angry and brave people
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    Jun 27 2013: Can we avoid powerful people being elected in a demacracy ?

    Through their wives they rule but its a good proposition to have more females.

    I may be wrong but i feel women tend to be less corrupt,and in their decision making the heart rules. Men are easily corruptible and here the brain rules.

    Lizanne what do you think?
  • Jun 23 2013: Wait I'm an American and what you are saying sounds familiar to me.
    Of course, the only way to evaluated India is to compare it to it's neighbors. Pakistan, Banglidish, China, Afghanistan, and a few small countries. Need I write more. And in fairness to China It is one of the World's most successful corporations. It's a shame that Indira Gandhi couldn't do a better job in controlling its population. Under the circumstances you have done very well. We have a defective business leadership too.
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    Jun 23 2013: I think it's a hard road for India.
    If you accept a class based stratification, corruption is already built-in.
    If your democracy has full representation of all communities and the full empowerment of one person = one vote, then it can work - so long as the community has total visibility of what is done in their name - and the power to un-vote a corrupt representative.
    But it might take a few hundred years for the old class attitudes to fully dissolve.
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      Jun 26 2013: Mitch Hi

      Before election he presents himself as servant and after being elected he becomes the master.
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        Jun 27 2013: A leader must be the ultimate servant.
        But the view from the throne is not the same as the view from the floor.
        A good servant describes what he sees to those he serves.
        A leader with secrets is no longer a servant.
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    Jun 23 2013: Do you have the right to impeach?
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      Jun 23 2013: Not that I know of. In India we now vote lesser evils so don't really regret afterwards. If someone starts behaving too autocratically, India always finds someone to come up, give a call and a movement forms to remove he/she from power. Indira Gandhi, the iron lady of India was removed from power by an old and frail freedom fighter named Jai Prakash Narayan.
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        Jun 23 2013: The answer I come up with for this country is probably applicable to yours as well. You have voters who are educated in remedial economics and remedial politics. I would not be surprised if your country and this one would score about the same on such a test.
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          Jun 23 2013: Despite many differences, yes, our two countries have certain strong similarities too. Indian constitution was substantially inspired by that of the US. If one learns from history, it will not be wise in both the countries to take the citizens for granted and in the level of popular aspiration both countries have what the present president of the US calls audacity of hope.
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        Jun 23 2013: The thing is that it is our countries. Not just the politicians who are just the tail, in both the tail wags the dog.
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          Jun 23 2013: I tried to imagine the scene :)
          However, tail is an extension of dog's body. If it can wag the dog, one would presume dog's biological evolution validated such feat, with or without the dog knowing.
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        Jun 23 2013: It means that a the majority is influenced by a minority with an agenda.
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          Jun 23 2013: No it means that the minority with an agenda comes from the majority where each member of the majority has the sleeping gene of developing an agenda given right (or should we say, wrong) circumstances.
          When Indians criticize corrupt politicians do they really do justice to themselves? To what extent an average Indian free from corruption? Politicians are not imported in the US or India, they come from amongst us.
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        Jun 23 2013: Evil comes from complacence?